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CAMPOUT: a control architecture for tightly coupled coordination of multirobot systems for planetary surface exploration

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9 Author(s)
Huntsberger, T. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., Pasadena, CA, USA ; Pirjanian, P. ; Trebi-Ollennu, A. ; Das Nayar, H.
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Exploration of high risk terrain areas such as cliff faces and site construction operations by autonomous robotic systems on Mars requires a control architecture that is able to autonomously adapt to uncertainties in knowledge of the environment. We report on the development of a software/hardware framework for cooperating multiple robots performing such tightly coordinated tasks. This work builds on our earlier research into autonomous planetary rovers and robot arms. Here, we seek to closely coordinate the mobility and manipulation of multiple robots to perform examples of a cliff traverse for science data acquisition, and site construction operations including grasping, hoisting, and transport of extended objects such as large array sensors over natural, unpredictable terrain. In support of this work we have developed an enabling distributed control architecture called control architecture for multirobot planetary outposts (CAMPOUT) wherein integrated multirobot mobility and control mechanisms are derived as group compositions and coordination of more basic behaviors under a task-level multiagent planner. CAMPOUT includes the necessary group behaviors and communication mechanisms for coordinated/cooperative control of heterogeneous robotic platforms. In this paper, we describe CAMPOUT, and its application to ongoing physical experiments with multirobot systems at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, for exploration of cliff faces and deployment of extended payloads.

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Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:33 ,  Issue: 5 )